Sky Sports man on alarming similarities between Sunderland woes & Wolves recent slump to League One

Is Sunderland's current steep decline similar to that which hit Wolves as this aft

by Brandon_Rawlin Saturday, 09 December 2017 09:58 AM Comments
Is Sunderland's current steep decline similar to that which hit Wolves a few years' ago?  This afternoon's opponents slumped from the Premier League to League One inside two seasons after wasting money on sub standard players.  


Sky Sports reporter Johnny Phillips sees alarming resemblances between today's visitors to Molineux and the Wolves side which crashed out of the Premier League in 2012 only to suffer a further relegation a year later. 

As Sunderland prepare to take on the division's table-toppers, the TV reporter suggests the present Black Cats malaise is similar to the one which hit Wolves as they crashed straight through the Championship and into League One. 

In previewing this afternoon's clash between the two clubs, the life-long Wolves fan and Soccer Saturday contributor told the Express and Star that the sharp decline of both teams, separated by just five years, can be traced back to poor recruitment strategies. 

Sky Sports Johhny Phillips - Twitter

Wolves were promoted to the Premier League in 2010 under former Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy. The West Midlands club just about managed to keep their head above water for a couple of years before crashing back down to the Championship after three seasons with 25 points - one more than the Black Cats managed in last year's dismal relegation under David Moyes. 

In his regular column for the West Midlands newspaper, Phillips suggests Chris Coleman has a huge task on his hands just to avoid a similar calamitous fall to that which hit the Molineux club:

  "Sunderland, seemingly on an unstoppable downward spiral, could well be on the same journey that Wolves took several years ago. 

  It was not so long ago that some disastrous recruitment at Molineux sealed a sorry end to Mick McCarthy's time at the helm and set the club on an embarrassing drop down two divisions to the third tier of English football."

The Sky man goes on to suggest Sunderland's terrible recruitment policies which blighted the Premier League years have "borne all the precision of a pin the tail on a donkey game at a kid's party" and can be traced all the way back to Roy Keane's money-splashing season in the top flight. 

Phillips goes further to say it hasn't just been the money wasted either, but the character of player who was brought in that contributed to a Black Cats decline which presently has them residing in the bottom three of the second division: 

  "It is not just the money. The type of player arriving sent out a terrible message to supporters who felt a disconnect with the men wearing the shirt. 

  Journeymen on a pay packet, veterans over the hill and, in the case of Adam Johnson - a £10m recruit in 2012  - bad eggs."

And the Wolves supporting journalist suggests when it came to being forced to throw money at top flight survival, McCarthy's business was equally poor, aided by sporting directors and administrators who began to proliferate the corridors of Molineux who  misjudged their business and attracted the wrong type of player for the club. 

Characters like Roger Johnson and Jamie O'Hara arrived for millions of pounds with the pair now plying their trades in non-league just a few years later. The former was regarded as something of a bad egg and the latter embarked on a period as a downgrade playboy, dating glamour model Danielle Lloyd and later appearing in Celebrity Big Brother. 

Sunderland and Wolves may find themselves in the same division right now, albeit at different ends, but the contrast between their current positions is stark. This afternoon's home side have recovered from that stint in League One to find themselves with new owners prepared to splash the cash and return the club to the top flight - and they're sitting pretty at the top of the table right now. 

By contrast, the decline of the Black Cats, precipitated by wasting vast amounts of money on poor players, may have a way to bottom out yet. Chris Coleman is the man tasked with halting the slump and he arrived at the Stadium of Light with a reputation for placing huge importance on the type of player he is working with. He now has a heck of task to ship out the shirkers and sub-standard wasters who still inhabit the club.